Department of Theatre and Film
Eat Shit and Die: Coprophagia and Fimetic Force in Tom Six's The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)
Delores B. Phillips
Shit is power: According to David Inglis, "faecal matters are always inherently political in character" (207). Feces has rhetorical force: it constitutes a powerful linguistic weapon, a tapping into what Inglis calls "the toiletry habitus" to abuse others, as the meanings that people attach to the management of their excreta shift over time yet never fail in their basic features of segregating the powerful from the powerless. Who gets to shit and who must endure being shat on (or called shit) are basic, universally recognized tropes in the arbitration of power. Indeed, telling someone to "eat shit and die" levels at an adversary one of the most potent insults in English.
It is the horror of bodily and excretory hypermanagement and the punitive power of humiliation that shapes Tom Six’s The Human Centipede series’ use of coprophagy as the key tool of torment in the two films. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) join a body of films and novels in which people eat excrement, to include Pier Pasolini's Saló: 120 Days of Sodom (1975) and Marco Ferreri's La Grande Bouffe (The Great Feast) (1973).1 Unlike these films, The Human Centipede franchise does not strike a posture against capitalism and excess (indeed, as I discuss below, Six’s films are complicit in the forces that coprophagia critiques in other venues). Although The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) uses the figure of Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) to represent fascism and its interest in human experimentation, and while The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011) may constitute a weak cautionary against copycat killing, the films themselves largely lack sustained, meaningful social commentary, preferring to wallow in their own spectacular filthiness as Tom Six undertakes an experiment very similar to Dr. Heiter's: the creation of a glorious monstrosity unique in horror cinema. The Human Centipede examines the operations of the horror genre, redistributing their force by introducing a new axis of power, one that violates the body not by hacking it into lifeless pieces, but by joining it with others and forcing it to eat waste, and then by offering the end product to the mass consumption of an eager audience already gorged on televised excrement and coprophilic memes yet still hungry for something new.
This essay will examine the logic of coprophagy in Tom Six's The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) as it operates along two separate but interdependent vectors in both films. Coprophagy constitutes a means of negotiating power, a feature that it shares with other texts in which characters eat excrement. This concentration upon excremental dietetics is not confined to the creation of the centipede and its torments of the bodies incorporated as its segments; it also includes Martin's (Lawrence R. Harvey) and Dr. Heiter's mealtimes. Food and mealtimes in films serve as metonyms for the forces at play in the plot as they also accelerate their momentum, no matter the substance on the plate; the function of food is no different in Six's films, whether presented at table or forced down the throats of victims. Meanwhile, the movie avails itself of the trope of connoisseurship to establish its relationship with its audience, with the eating of extruded excrement as the basis for that connoisseurship. In pushing the boundaries of horror to include the stitching of victims together, mouth-to-anus, Tom Six establishes the same distinctions of taste that segregate the squeamish from the stalwart. This in turn plays into the larger structures of coprophagic cultural consumption in ways that outline the contours of a consumer-based excremental posthumanism.
The films reconceive posthumanism in the context of excrementality by thinking about the human body in both technological and animalistic terms—the centipede is an artificially assembled creature whose individual human segments are robbed of speech and upright motion and then forced to ingest and feed each other excrement. The rubric of posthumanism consistently relies upon the porosity of the human body, whether infiltrated by technology (Donna Haraway), entering into relationships with the animal (Deleuze and Guattari among others), or entering into relationships with spaces and things in ways that do not insist upon the superiority of the human being or the modes of thinking that establish its privilege (Carey Wolfe). In her essay “Toward an Excremental Posthumanism: Primatology, Women, and Waste,” Marie Lathers identifies excrement in both linguistic and literal forms as the principal element of exchange between women primatologists and their nonhuman objects of study, and examines how this exchange frames a form of excremental posthumanism. As women primatologists engage with nonhuman primates who walk the “odd space” between the boundaries of “nature and science,” “the private (the individual) and the public (nation-state),” “the inside and outside of the body,” “women and men,” and “nonhuman and human animals” (420), mountain gorilla excrement is “voiced through the bodies of white women” (425) to advocate for the rights of nonhuman primates in postcolonial Africa. Lathers notes the prominence, not just of obscenities in the films about women primatologists, but of coprophagia as medicinal and social practice among both people and gorillas and the befouling of human bodies as punishment for poaching (426-9). These instances subject the boundary between human and animal to erasure. While these mechanisms—the beshitted body and the transcendence, surpassing, and negation of the individual human—are at play in Six’s The Human Centipede films, their presence is far from salutary, as I argue below. Instead, the excremental posthumanism that Six constructs in his films is connected to excessive consumption in capital culture, the technological feats that intend to connect humans to one another, and the constant, celebratory, excessive ingestion and effusion of our own shit in multiple cultural contexts.
It is axiomatic to think of excrement as a tool of humiliation. A dropped colostomy bag in He Was a Quiet Man (Frank A. Cappello, 2007) drives a paraplegic woman off a stage on which she was enjoying karaoke, disrupting the fragile, momentary happiness in which she almost can accept her plight. At the beginning of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989), a man's body is smeared with dog feces as a punishment: to endure a beating is almost heroic; to endure beshittedness is always ignominious. During a reunion episode of the Season Two cast of Bad Girls' Club, Jennavecia humiliates Neveen on the air by bringing up the specter of her past appearances on The Playhouse, a Portland, Oregon radio show. In her role as the straight for a team of shock jocks, Neveen takes up a dare to eat cat feces—and consumes a piece on the air. At the reunion (characterized as all reality TV reunions are by bickering and resuscitated grudges) Neveen at first denies the allegation; then she attempts to defend it. Reality television is particularly noisome and prolific in its proffering of excrement. In her analysis of televised coprophagia, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster observes, “In Hoarders, we are repeatedly subjected to images of cat feces, rat feces, human feces, skeletons of dead cats, and even the tears on the faces of broken family members, underscored by downbeat and frightening music leitmotifs borrowed from horror films.” This series traffics in the humiliation and “healing” of people whose excessive consumption, lax toilet and hygienic habits, and effusive emissions immerse them in waves of shit.
The Help's (Tate Taylor, 2011) deployment of the excremental adulterant constitutes a reclamation of power in the homes of upper-class Southern white women.2 Power here is aligned along the vector of the toilet: the black help cannot relieve themselves in the houses that they clean, a violation of basic human rights by denying workers a place where they can eliminate in privacy and comfort.3 To solve this problem and to eliminate subversive, surreptitious bathroom-usage, Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) begins an initiative to create outhouses outside the home that the help can use—but which are still an insulting, embarrassing ejection of human bodies from the home and also render hypervisible the practices that closed doors aim to conceal. After being accused of theft (an accusation that can guarantee that she will never work again), Minnie Jackson (Octavia Spencer) delivers Hilly a message in a chocolate pie, telling her oppressor to "Eat her shit" by feeding it to her, thus ensuring Hilly’s silence with the unspoken threat of telling everyone that she has eaten a black woman’s excrement. The pie represents the fears of adulterated food that attend to any service industry. However, its power is not limited to the acting-out of this particular paranoia—dirt from the yard or from inside the house could have served this purpose. Containing shit intended to be eaten, the pie acts out the fecal rhetoric of abuse analyzed by David Inglis, literalizing it, elegantly channeling an insult into an act of culinary sabotage. More critically, the excrement in the pie contaminates the white feminine body in the exact manner that she hoped to prevent—and then exponentially magnifies the threat. Finally, it inverts the power dynamic that determines who can shit where, who gets to shit, and who gets shat upon, and this is the pie's truest intent.
Breakfast, Dinner, and the Assembly of the Merdivore
Coprophagia maintains the same punitive power in The Human Centipede films as it does in The Help, but is stripped of its irony. Instead, coprophagia's violence becomes the film's predicate. In the place of evisceration, other manipulations of the body thematize a perverse cohesion instead of rending and dissection. Horror conventions have rendered cliché the gutting and flaying of bodies; Six’s films attempt to offer something new by re-centering their violence on the human gut, keeping it intact instead of emptying it of its viscera, augmenting the alimentary canal with additional segments, and then filling it with excrement. Violence then moves outward toward the opposite ends of alimentation as mouth and anus are connected end-to-end-to-end-to-end: once they are sutured together and forced to kneel, Heiter and Martin can then force their victims to eat and to shit, violating them orally and anally. The Frankensteinian efforts of the mad doctor do not shift the shape of a singular entity or even create an entity capable of duplicating itself by infecting or assimilating others. It is instead an organic whole comprised of discreet segments, multiple people conscripted to participate as links in a new being.
In the centipede itself, The Human Centipede films invoke the explosive power of George Bataille's JESUVE, the tableau vivant he creates of a beautiful young woman kissing the bright-red ischial callosity of a buried female gibbon as it jets excrement in panicked death-throes; she is watched, all the while, by “stupefied” eyes that are simultaneously aroused and revulsed, her viewers groaning and orgasming. The Human Centipede films then collapse the JESUVE’s components into an act of alimentation.4 Entranced by the idea of human sacrifice, eroticism, and excrementality, Bataille assembles the JESUVE to represent a unification of the human and humanity with the animal and animality and with vulgarity and obscenity. Bataille’s equivocal concept of the erect man reconnects him with the anus from which he distances himself when standing upright and that he cannot disavow when looking at the excessive excretion of nonhuman captive primates and erotic scenes featuring beauty and shit. The JESUVE therefore creates an image of Man both elevated and debased and of woman defiled and desired. The JESUVE, the horrifying, "little copulation of the stinking hole with the sun" (Bataille 86) does not include ingestion. Its polluting power is of one of proximity, of witnessing and desire. The Human Centipede, however, attaches. In both films, the proximity of a pretty girl's mouth to a rude, stinking, shitting bottom remains, but kisses become gavage, the "raucous sighs" and "impossible cries" become screams, and the "brilliant tears of vertigo" become the weeping of frustration, fear, and evacuated hope (Bataille 86). Heiter's careful manipulations of the body are thus the civilized echo of the savage scene around the pit in Bataille's JESUVE, while Martin’s assembly of his own creation—along with our own febrile, shameful, revolted, exuberant viewings of both films—perhaps more closely adhere to the JESUVE’s original sense of horror, its obscenity and its excess.5
The plots of both films are fairly simple: a mad scientist has an idea; people are captured, stitched together, and forced to perform in ways that demonstrate their subservience to absolute power; they rebel after achieving limited coherence as a single entity, the ironic outcome of the surgeon’s objectives; their rebellion is only ambivalently successful as they thwart their captors’ aims, but die in the process. In The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), two young American women vacationing in Germany, stumble upon the lair of Dr. Heiter, a disaffected surgeon whose stellar career in separating conjoined twins has left him jaded and yearning for a new medical accomplishment. Six months prior to the beginning of the film, he "design[s] a never-seen operation, not separating anymore, but creating." Having captured the women along with a Japanese tourist, Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), Heiter then details the creation of a "Siamese triplet connected via the gastric system" as they lie strapped to gurneys in his basement surgery, screaming and weeping. The centipede's defining biological process is the conservation of nutriment, as "ingestion by A, pass[es] through B, to the excretion of C. A human centipede, first sequence." After a successful surgery, Heiter dominates his new pet, treating it as he did his “Lieber 3-Hund” (Beloved Three-Dog), the canine precursor to his human centipede, feeding it from a dog dish, forcing it to fetch, and marching it around the yard. The film becomes messier and bloodier as Dr. Heiter's plans to keep the centipede as a quasi-immortal pet fall apart because the authorities tighten their scrutiny of his house and his victims refuse to remain docile. As their cooperation and coordination increases (and the centipede becomes a whole organism capable of synchronized movement) Heiter's ability to corral the centipede erodes—just in time for the arrival of prying police whose inquiries into vanished victims leads them to Heiter's door. However, the film offers its victims no relief: it ends with dead investigators floating in Heiter's pool, Heiter's blood and brains splattered against a wall, Katsuro lying face-first in a pool of his own blood after slashing his own throat, and Lindsay alive but alone, weeping, attached to two corpses as her posterior segment, Jenny, has died of infection. Gore is smeared throughout the house, the bedroom sliding-glass door is (again) shattered in an escape attempt, and the swimming pool is filled with blood.
The film overturns a number of horror conventions as Tom Six attempts, similarly to Heiter, a new creation. The perversity of the film’s operation lies in the manner in which excrement morphs from waste to food, to waste and then again to food. Linearity becomes circularity and then becomes helixical. First Sequence displaces sexuality almost completely, focusing upon the violation and manipulation of the body. However, even this convention—the slicing and slashing of the body, the extraction of teeth, the sadistic dominance of others—also contravenes horror conventions by largely withholding them from view. The cleanliness and sterility of Heiter's house and his basement operating theater counter the horror and filthiness of the operation he is about to undertake and its concentration upon force-feeding human excrement to other people as an exercise of power entrenched in the nourishment of the body using waste. The centipede's unifying feature, the connector that attaches each segment to the next, is coprophagic, and Heiter punishes Lindsay for an early escape attempt by making her the middle. Not only is the operation the most painful for this segment as both anus and mouth are attached, but she must also endure both the forced-feeding of excrement as well as force-feeding it to another person. Subjecting her to both processes amplifies her suffering. Part of Heiter's monstrousness is the tenderness with which he tends his creation and a clear sense that he intends this creature to live forever by replacing segments if they sicken and die. In spite of the disfigurement of faces, mouths, and anuses in the film, First Sequence is surprisingly spare in its depictions of gore, hiding its violence behind cutscenes, anaesthesia, and post-op care. The violent mutilation of the body is largely hidden for much of the film, intimated by blood-stained bandages and stapled flesh. Nudity is treated with equal care. In First Sequence, body parts are protected from view by the placement of bandages and limbs. Jenny, the final segment, is even allowed to keep her panties.
Figure 1: The human centipede assembled in First Sequence.
In this fashion, First Sequence stands in the company of La Grande Bouffe and The Help. In La Grand Bouffe, the excrement to be eaten has been beautified, its baseness elevated by the patês with which it has been mixed, even as its very baseness reveals the fate of even the most rarified foods. The composition of the dish, created by master chef Ugo (Ugo Tognazzi), serves as an allegory for the metaphysical exhaustion and ennui that has driven him and his companions to commit suicide by gluttony. In The Human Centipede (First Sequence), gustatory terror is elevated to the form of art: the mouth, its teeth knocked out, stitched to an ass. The dietary transactions that convert shit to food and then shit again take place beneath bandages.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the opposite of its precursor. Martin, the film’s protagonist, is a psychological mess, underemployed and horribly abused. Anally raped as a child by his father and neglected as an adult by his mother, he must endure unproductive therapy sessions with Dr. Sebring and work a boring job as a parking garage attendant. Over and over, he watches First Sequence on DVD and copies the attachment procedure from Heiter’s overhead projections, in part and as whole drawings, endlessly studying and committing them to memory: a diligent medical student of a fictional lesson. However, Martin’s plans include the amplification of Heiter’s experiment. Where First Sequence stitches together three people, Full Sequence stitches together twelve. Rather than carefully selecting and culling segments based on their compatibility, he simply bashes in the heads of any victims who blunder into his garage and offend his (and by extension the viewer's) sensibilities with their uncontrolled fucking, their drunken debauchery, and their mistreatment of their partners and of Martin. Rather than imprisoning them in his own home, Martin rents a warehouse where he stashes victims for later attachment. Similarly to the centipede in the first film, Martin enjoys momentary success by forcing his creation to move, consume, and excrete, but the centipede rebels, again after achieving some unity as a single organism (although this centipede splits into two separate, mobile halves at the film’s climax). After shooting all of the segments after they defy his efforts of containment and control and physically injure him, Martin seems to awaken from a reverie, alone in his booth in the garage, the entire film a possible dream sequence.
Following through on his pledge to show more, Tom Six displays the process of assembling the centipede with much more detail and an exponential increase in gore in the second film.6 Heiter's ever-present riding crop is replaced by Martin’s crowbar. The tender wound care that Heiter demonstrates in the care and maintenance of his pet is reduced in Full Sequence to clumsy brushing of the hair of the female segments (a refraction of his mother's hair-brushing earlier in the film). Carefully wrapped bandages yield to layers of silver duct tape. Martin is Dr. Heiter's epigone and, while his methods are much cruder and more immediate, and while his enjoyment of his centipede is much more short-lived, his work is only marginally more successful and he ends the film disturbed, but alive.
The centipede’s noisy, defiant head is not a Japanese man hurling invectives in a language unintelligible to everyone else in the film. It is the Jenny-sector, played by Ashlynn Yennie playing herself. The film's black-and-white dinginess contrasts sharply against its precursor's full-color cleanliness. There are no pristine surfaces, surgical draping, or medical instruments. Instead, Martin must operate in a dirty, empty warehouse, using a hammer, a pair of pliers, rolls of duct tape, kitchen implements, and a staple gun to stitch together his creation. Martin's bug-eyed, pudgy unhealthiness contrasts against Heiter's fitness. While both men wear lab coats, Martin wears his only over a pair of white briefs, his corpulence smeared with gore. Martin's obsessive copycat criminality contrasts against Heiter's controlled study of his subject matter, his desire to make something new. Even as the film's metafilmic structure connects First and Full Sequences, the second film is the converse of the first.
In keeping with the cinematic function that many meals serve in films as a setting that cathects relations between characters or as an accelerant that spurs the film's actions, the placement of meals as settings for the negotiation of power include Heiter's dinner table and Martin’s breakfasts with his mother. At dinner, Heiter feeds his centipede's head, Katsuro, who then bites the doctor's ankle. This display of rebellion does not go unpunished: in response, Heiter kicks Katsuro in the face, and threatens to pull Katsuro's teeth out one-by-one if he bites again. Striking Katsuro has sullied Heiter's hands with blood. He finds the stain of it repellent and so wipes his fingers on his napkin as he tries to return to his own dinner, a thick, rare steak, perfectly cooked and elegantly plated to mirror his own carefully-executed bloodthirst. The unpleasantness of the encounter ruins the doctor's appetite and so he sets down his fork in disgust. This moment of revulsion contrasts sharply against Heiter's later taste for his victims' blood: he licks the blood that they have dripped on the stairs leading out of the basement as they make a final attempt to escape.
Dietetics is closely associated with power in both films and the politics of power in both First and Full Sequence do not limit themselves to their merdivorous creations. In Full Sequence, for example, Martin feeds baby mice and crickets to a pet centipede in a terrarium, inflicting suffering upon lesser creatures as a way of dealing with his own victimization. Other forms of oral violence proliferate in the film: Martin pulls out Yennie's tongue when her incessant screaming gets on his nerves. It is mealtime with his mother that proves most evocative. His dysfunctional relationship with Mrs. Lomax (Vivien Bridson) plays out over their breakfast, distorting and amplifying the role that the dinner table plays in First Sequence. Eating a breakfast of beans-on-toast, bacon, and eggs (a mess on a plate that contrasts against Heiter's tidy meal of a steak garnished with a sprig of parsley) Mrs. Lomax declares, “I've decided to kill us both.” Shortly after this declaration, the upstairs neighbor starts playing loud music with heavy bass. When Martin's mother thumps the ceiling to make him stop, the neighbor tromps downstairs and beats Martin. After the upstairs neighbor flips the table, Mrs. Lomax cries “Kill us both!” and receives verbal abuse in response before the neighbor leaves the apartment. In this scene, the family table does not bring together mother and son. Instead, the one-sided conversation they have over breakfast (Martin does not speak in the film) underscores his mother's suicidal tendencies and homicidal intentions toward her offspring. When joined by a neighbor, the breakfast scene demonstrates Martin's powerlessness. There is no communion over the meal. However, it is at the breakfast table where Martin exacts his revenge. After bludgeoning his mother to death with a crowbar, he seats her nearly decapitated corpse across from him at the breakfast table where he eats with her as they normally do. When Martin staves in his mother's head and props her body in the chair across from him, it is her hollowed-out face and gaping mouth that arouses such horror. He completes the breakfast ritual by tapping on the ceiling to lure the upstairs neighbor down into the apartment where Martin shoots him in the leg, hits him in the head, and integrates him into his centipede. This meal offers no reconciliation (as promised by the feeding of his centipede, both human and arthropod); it does, however, constitute the first significant step toward Martin’s reclamation of power. This scene is the apotheosis of the breakfast table's dysfunctional force, the fulfillment of its energies, a scene of release.
In First Sequence, the meal table represents a space in which the unsteady power dynamic that governs the struggle between Heiter and his centipede plays out, and their struggle here is a foreshadowing of later escape attempts. In Full Sequence, however, the family scene becomes an ambivalently recuperative space for Martin. It exposes the oppressive powers that make his life a misery and it is here where he exercises his vengeance against their actants: his hateful, hated mother and their bullying upstairs neighbor. The first film uses the meal table only as a metaphor for the agonism that leads to Heiter's dissatisfaction with his creation (and then abandoning it, as the only other meal in the film is that eaten by Katsuro). In the second film, the meal table plays a far more central role in the psychodrama, structuring Martin's need for his project. If Heiter is moved principally by vanity and curiosity, then Martin's curiosity is moved by retributive need. Martin's rage erupts at the breakfast table—it is only once this initial release has been achieved that he can begin the assembly of his centipede.
First Sequence’s key coprophagic scene occurs when Katsuro has to relieve himself—for which he begs the forgiveness of his posterior segments. The humiliation of defecating while being watched is heightened by the lips unwillingly attached to his backside. He is forced to shit and Lindsay is forced to swallow it. Meanwhile, Heiter sees this as the biology of his creature in action and so he hops about, gleefully exhorting Katsuro to "Feed her! Feed her!" He howls, "Hard! Swallow it, bitch! Swallow up!" adding a dimension of oral rape as the centipede takes on its first overtly sexual overtones. Until this moment, Katsuro has been defiant, refusing to fetch when Heiter stuffs a copy of Die Welt in his mouth, biting the doctor's leg at dinner and turning the centipede's back upon Heiter when commanded to bite his boot, obstinately refusing to play the role that Heiter's prototype, his "Lieber 3-Hund" should have played had it lived. After unwillingly forcing Lindsay to feed upon his excrement—days after the centipede's assembly—Katsuro is broken (but only momentarily: he makes another escape attempt not long after).
This is the fulfillment of Heiter’s plan, as what A eats passes into B. However, the centipede resists him, its intractable bowels refusing to obey. B never passes anything to C and C never eliminates. At a checkup, it is revealed that Lindsay is constipated. She is unable to feed the centipede's tail segment. Dr. Heiter responds to this dysfunction by declaring that she will be administered a laxative, (“neostigmine, good stuff”). Meanwhile, Jenny's stinking, suppurating facial wounds move Heiter to observe, "Jenny-Sector, you're very sick. I think you're dying. We have to replace you." The centipede’s biology is barely under Heiter’s control because the actual bodies that he sutures together defy the imagined perfection of his creature.
The organization of the centipede refracts and then distorts the power dynamic between Heiter and his creation. Heiter’s choice to stitch a Japanese man at the front of the centipede is chiefly pragmatic: Katsuro’s body type better accommodates the dimensions of the women who will follow him and, similarly to Martin, Heiter has to work with whomever he can successfully ambush. However, the positioning of a male figure at the front of the centipede feeding shit to a woman sewed to his anus gains added significance as Heiter hops about, gleefully exhorting Lindsay to “Swallow it, bitch!” In keeping with the conventions of horror, it is the men who perform the preponderance of the monstrosities, and women who endure the preponderance of the suffering. However, by putting an ethnic man at the front of the centipede, Six has added the specter of race-based oppression to the centipede’s shock without tapping into the most familiar horror tropes (the black guy always dies first) and while also disrupting the film’s fascist axis (although Six nods toward Japanese horror by selecting a Japanese actor). If the film’s inflections include Nazi atrocities, Katsuro’s nationality should have put him on the side of Dr. Heiter; his force-feeding of excrement to Lindsay certainly does, and his apologies to her refract postwar chagrin. However, to read the politics of World War II into the film’s alignments of power overstates the role that these tropes play in the centipede’s organization, as would reading Katsuro’s body as the inhuman, shitting female gibbon in Bataille’s JESUVE. Katsuro is the centipede’s noisy, unintelligible head. He is an open mouth that can feed and scream. He can howl in pain and horror and dismay without being able to speak directly to anyone. Even his ending soliloquy is wasted on those who cannot read the subtitles explaining his understanding of his predicament. His nationality silences him even as it allows him to give voice to his agony and his anger. This means that the inclusion of a Japanese man at the front of the centipede actually works to democratize suffering along the lines of gender, race, and nation. The film therefore upsets the horror convention that reserves the full wrath of the genre for the bodies of white women even as it also holds these conventions in place: it is Lindsay who is fed and it is Lindsay’s body that is impotent to feed; it is Lindsay’s eyes that we see in the film’s final shots, and her muffled weeping is the film’s final sounds. However, it is Katsuro who must feed and feel shame for it; he is most capable of defiance and can even lead it, but he too is frustrated; and he must kneel before absolute power just as his female posterior segments must kneel behind him.
First Sequence is largely disinterested in the sexual; Full Sequence, on the other hand, is interested in the psychosexual. Heiter's attentiveness in assembling his creature does not make the bodies of his female victims—petite, girlish, pretty yet not ravishing—into the sexual fetish that is then defiled by the force-feeding of excrement. The process in the first film is instead biological. For Martin, however, assembling the centipede is both an enlargement of and expansion upon the experiment that he wishes to reproduce. His creative impulses are actually mimicry and exaggeration. He fails to work through his own anally-induced trauma: the dreams of his father's violations underwrite his savagery, but he ends the movie with a dead, broken centipede at his feet and a live centipede writhing in his gut. The film concludes with a lack of clarity whether its happenings have even occurred, as Martin's troubled looks and unsettled demeanor suggest that he has learned a valuable lesson about copying his idol's handiwork. Martin ends the film appearing to have been chastened. In these ways, both films differ greatly from de Sade's texts and Pasolini’s Saló, which bind the eating of excrement to the satisfaction and amplification of sexual desire.
Although Martin can force them to eat and although they defecate in panicked spasms during Yennie’s gavage, the segments of Full Sequence’s human centipede refuse to unify to comprise a singular entity defined by gastric continuity. The centipede’s bowels resist him. He attempts to unsuccessfully feed his pet, dumping a can of beans (which feature prominently upon his breakfast plate) into a dog dish. Not only does Yennie glare at him incredulously, she flings the bowl away. In response, Martin resorts to more direct methods, forcing her to eat when compliance fails by funneling food directly into her stomach. During this process, a few of the centipede's segments involuntarily defecate and they feed each other, their excretions explosive and watery, the implied result of panic. When it is clear that some segments are not passing food quickly enough, Martin manually palpates their abdomens and attempts to stimulate their participation by using crude noises. Frustrated by his inability to produce complete results, Marting lasks each segment with an injection, triumphantly jabbing each victim to force compliance, inflicting the encopresis that he repeatedly suffers in the film.7 Martin is rewarded by gastric upheavals that force the segments to feed each other violently, each segment defecating in its turn. Refracting the red coat in Schindler's List, the sole spot of color in the film is the brown excrement spilling from each anus and splattering the camera as the victims forcefully feed one another.
Figure 2: The centipede realized in The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence
This feeding exhibits none of the tidiness of Heiter's centipede: it is orgiastic and sloppy as the nutriment that each segment provides to the next spills uncontrollably from the spaces between lips and anus. Here at last the centipede fulfills its purpose: the gastric path is complete as shit becomes food and then shit again, to be excreted in a final burst by the tail segment. Martin can achieve what Heiter cannot—his centipede is a functional organism. To the viewer, it is clear that there is no passing of excrement through the centipede. It is an illusion conjured by the sequential defecation of each individual. However, for Martin, the serial feeding of each segment attests to his successful conjoining of a twelve-person yet singular entity, a four-fold expansion of Heiter's gastric and gustatory trinity.
What Martin discounts, however, is the smell. His centipede's gastric processes are more noisome than expected, and Martin finds himself repelled by his creation. He vomits, nauseated by the stink of the shit he has forced through and from the centipede (and this nausea refracts the emesis of the investigator who vomits at almost precisely this point in the first film). Here, he can do what his creation cannot—he is at liberty to vomit, where they are forced to swallow and accept. The parallelism pairing the vomit in First Sequence with the vomit in Full Sequence undoubtedly stems from the metanarrative that Tom Six uses to structure the film. The film within the film is perfect in execution precisely because it is a film, whereas Martin's sloppy imitations can never achieve such perfection. This is the distinction made in the film between the film and the real, a collapsing of the distance between the real and the imaginary as layered viewerships proliferate.8
The Cultural Logic of Coprophagia
Coprophagia forces interpersonal intimacy between the subjects in the centipede and the doctor who has connected them. Shitting and the eating of shit becomes a sign of unwanted, but successful intercourse with others. Boundaries marked out by excrement break down: the unification of bodies, attaching them from ass to mouth to ass to mouth represents a gross violation of the excremental order and a cunning reversal of the customary trajectory marked out by Dominique Laporte in which shit is imbued with value. Excrement becomes nourishment and then excrement and then nourishment and then excrement again. However, the end segment in First Sequence is not only malnourished but sickens first, as her suppurating wounds are prodded by the doctor who seems to lack foresight beyond his assembly of the human centipede, the initial acts of feeding, and the walking of his creation around the yard.
Not only are bodies disassembled and then reassembled in frankenstienian fashion, but they are assembled with a special attention paid to the alimentary trajectory. The films suggest that the cleansing of shit is never effective—and films that indulge in coprophagia count upon this to power their use of the trope. Representations of excrement redistribute its fimetic force: excrement is cleansed of its taste and odor even as its spectacular filthiness grants an additional dimension of horror to the film. Neither does it have a flavor.9 Consequently, suffering lacks poignancy. Additionally, both films trope uncontainability: the shit that the first segment cannot control and that floods the mouth of the second is rendered odorless and flavorless even as the flood of it makes infinitely more monstrous the stitching of a young woman's face to an Asian man's anus.
Because they connect with the medical horrors of Nazi German doctors’ human experiments, the sequences of The Human Centipede share with Pasolini’s Saló an interest in fascism and the exercise of absolute power; however, this engagement exists at the level of interest and no further. It is not a commentary upon consumption and the bourgeoisie, a theme that Saló shares with La Grande Bouffe and that is a feature of coprophagic engagements with human excrement in television (Foster). Indeed, the key distinction between The Human Centipede series, Saló, and La Grande Bouffe is the cynicism with which Six markets his film. The promotional materials for The Human Centipede state that it is "100% medically accurate," a "shockeroo gimmick" with a lengthy history in horror cinema, and one that attempts to distinguish the film from the pack but is ultimately derided as "old-fashioned marketing tomfoolery" (Martin, cited in Gornstein). Neither of these films pretends to be art beyond their skillful execution; they are explicitly “shitty” consumerist productions. The films’ multiple bannings become an added meta-textual resource for the popularization of the film. Instead of keeping viewers safe from harm, they add to the film’s appeal.10
In spite of their aspirations toward factual fidelity, The Human Centipede represents a series of influences mobilized in the furtherance of a thought experiment, a joke, one in which Six and his friends based an entire film franchise on the horrific notion of a perfect punishment for the worst transgressions.11 Instead of lamenting it, Six revels in the power of the “critical quarantine” that isolates films such as Saló and La Grande Bouffe from mainstream consciousness, and then uses that power to force his films into the very mainstream that rejects them with such violence.12 Rather than attempt to breach it or supercede it (as films such as Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ  have attempted with some success), Six uses the films’ shock value to amplify their appeal. Although The Human Centipede’s primary appeal is its iniquity, its high-quality vulgarity, and the carefully configured artistry of its offensiveness, it is its accurate invocation of medical technique—ultimately a small percentage of the film's total content—that allows Six access to the mainstream avenues of film distribution in the UK. A curious sleight-of-hand enabled the film's shock value to masquerade as attentiveness to medical detail. However, viewers do not gravitate toward the film for its medical accuracy and its depiction of surgical technique; we watch because people are being forced to eat shit and we recognize the film's coprophagia as a bubbling to the surface of internet subculture’s more shocking staple images and clips.13 Meanwhile, the official alibi allows Six to capitalize upon his film.
In spite of (or, more likely, because of) its banned status, the film enjoyed a vibrant subterranean life in Britain and Australia, riding the same currents of distribution as “Bathtub Girl,” Goatse.cx, and “2 Girls 1 Cup” 14 to acquire the same widespread reception in both nations, as these films and memes constitute as much a component of The Human Centipede's cultural genetics as its Japanese horror forebears and Pasolini and Fererri’s films. As it contains images of extruding, consuming, and regurgitating human excrement set against the backdrop of lesbian sex, “2 Girls 1 Cup” has been the subject of innumerable reaction videos in which the unsuspecting have been duped into seeing it or are lured by the dare of watching something so vile, and then filmed as they laugh, retch, moan, and scream.15 The Human Centipede films replicate the structure of “2 Girls 1 Cup” and its reaction videos: we watch, dared to do so by someone who has seen; we are revulsed as we are also amused by our revulsion, our revulsion an inversion of Kundera's kitsch;16 we dare others to watch, that we may be amused by our collective revulsion. In this way, similarly to de Sade's work, The Human Centipede demands a curiously epicurean palate to withstand its aesthetic assault. Similarly to the shit confection that Ugo creates in La Grande Bouffe, The Human Centipede is "Une poeme de merde": as Andréa (Andréa Ferreol) says, "it's good, Ugo, but it won't go down." Shit-eating is a culinary vice that requires a discerning taste. Consuming this film and its internet antecedents takes gustatory stamina to enjoy. Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's article describes the operation of gluttony and excrescence in American television culture, describing its coprophagic and cannibalistic qualities. Her inquiry can easily extend to accommodate Six's films and its coprophagic precedents.
The Human Centipede’s cult and commercial success suggest that it readmits excrementality—and that it is the epilogue of Laporte's History of Shit, which tracks the return of excrement to the fields of cultural production. Excrement becomes capital, shit alchemically transformed into the coin of the realm. The films shift the register of excremental politics: much of its study (Warwick Anderson, Jed Esty, David Inglis, Achille Mbembe, George Bataille) concentrates upon the purgation, elimination, and celebration of shit. Indeed, excrement has a particularly potent political resonance in postcolonial fiction, where shitting in beds and leaving heaping mounds of filth in toilets is a particularly insulting intrusion into the homes of dispossessed middle class citizens and intellectuals whose lives are disrupted by political flux.17 Its ingestion adds a new dimension of cruelty and spite to images of effusive excretion and excessive consumption. As they avail themselves of an ironic posture toward recycling waste, images of coprophagy also align themselves with themes of decadence, humiliation, and hyper- or mismanagement of the body.
The films therefore participate in a configuration of excremental posthumanism, one that connects people via excess consumption and effusive cultural production. Marie Lathers’ model of excremental posthumanism shifts postcolonial excrementalism away from the management of bodies via the excremental order to the management, socialization, and naturalization (the making familiar) of nonhuman primates (421-22). In spite of its critics' enumeration of its many artistic failures, Six's films perhaps adhere to the model of the posthuman excremental, not because of socialization and naturalization (even though the films are deeply interested in collapsing and then reconstructing the separations between human, inhuman, nonhuman, and animal) but because of The Human Centipede franchise’s interest in augmentation, in deconstructing the human body’s individuality by inserting it into coprophagic relations with others in ways that dehumanize it and yet make it suprahuman. If Pasolini’s renderings of coprophagy depict the shit food that manufacturers shovel down the gullets of consumers,18 then Six’s version of coprophagy critiques the disavowal of our collective interest in shitty culture. Its parodies reinforce this thinking, exemplified by South Park's "HUMANCENTiPAD,” aired in 2011 and a year after the release of First Sequence.19
Figure 3: South Park's HUMANCENTiPAD
This episode points toward the posthumanist excremental order established by the film. As we are governed by increasingly opaque End User Agreements (that few of us read attentively) and as our laptops, tablets, desktops, and cell phones become increasingly integrated with each other, and we with them, and they and we with other people and their devices, the human centipede's logic emerges in the ordering of everyday life: we live in a world of informative data vomit that we consume and spew in endless text messages, phone conversations, emails, web pages, blog posts, forum posts, tweets, status updates, and memes.20 Similarly to Heiter and Martin's centipedes, these new constructions of self rely upon sustenance that is marginally nutritive. Although Six's consultation with a physician verifies his film's claim that a human being can exist for years upon a diet of excrement if supported by infusions of vitamins,21 there is little sense that the eating of one's own shit or the shit of other human beings has serious dietary potential beyond its shock value, its immediate, stunning effect upon the viewer. The image of the new, posthumanist human being is one who is chained to others, not by the democratizing power of Web 2.0, but by endless ingestion, regurgitation, and defecation of information.
In this way, the HUMANCENTiPAD offers a deconstruction of the conflicting social settings of the subject in an age of information oversaturation. Instead of a solitary figure bent over a keyboard or a mobile device, face illumined by a single screen into which she stares, rapt, substituting virtual interactions for real-life connections with others, and instead of the endless connectivity with others offered by social media and the instantaneousness of immersion in the internet, the HUMANCENTiPAD and Six's precursor films offer an intermediary: the individual sutured to others, ingesting excrement and extruding it. The solitary netizen is revealed as a fiction—she reads and is read by others. She is bound to them by the streams of information into which she dives, searching for stimulation and novelty, impatiently demanding updates by obsessively and repeatedly pressing F5.
This is because the viewer is as much a segment in the centipede as its victims. If the segments of Six's centipedes simultaneously become the panicked, dying, shitting female gibbon buried underground with only her anus exposed to the sky as well as a perversion of the beautiful woman who kisses them, then they also invoke the JESUVE's third component, which is the group of onlookers whose sighs, groans, and orgasms complete the tableau. Heiter and Martin, the choreographers of the scenario, are both orgiastic onlooker and eager participant; however, it is the audience's sighs, cries, and tears that are the film's realization of its objectives.22 Our own vertiginous enjoyment of the film's horrors highlight the absurd, disturbing excess that Gwendolyn Audrey Foster laments as she observes "the cyclical loop" of "capitalism eating itself." She argues that television culture in the US disgorges its excess to feast upon it again in the forms of exploitative gluttony. She describes television as "coprophagic and cannibalistic in this way; TV is largely feces, our own regurgitated feces, which we ultimately pay to eat." She notes that "shows such as Hoarders exploit and engage in coprophagia for better ratings, ultimately supporting gluttonous capitalism." Tom Six's films make this the literal foundation of their appeal, especially as they sink deep roots in other moments of coprophagy in film and internet culture. We watch, but not impassively, as watching the films constitutes a feat of strength; our disgust is dizzying and Six's shoveling of the shit down our collective gullets is as cynical as our appetite for it. His is not the ironic posture struck by Pasolini and Ferreri. It is not one of dismay. By making literal the film's allocophagy, he also makes literal the manner in which we will consume what others extrude, amusing ourselves by feasting on filth.
1 Others include the shit pie eaten in The Help and treated in brief detail below, and Pink Flamingos by John Waters. In spite of the shock value of contemporary coprophagia in film and literature, the eating of shit as a form of social commentary is nothing new. Textual references to coprophragia can be found in Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, and he in turn cites classical Greek comedies.
2 Adulterated food in which the adulterant is of the body has its own politics of power and is part of an ancient tradition. Seneca the Younger's Thyestes features a father who unknowingly eats the hacked apart bodies of his own sons; this play is a refraction of the Greek myth in which the gods are fed human flesh by a curious mortal host in an effort to divine their omniscience.
3 Laura Norén’s article “Only Dogs are Free to Pee" examines the plight of taxicab drivers in New York. They cannot relieve themselves freely and are forced to pee surreptitiously. Their furtive micturation includes the use of drinking vessels to contain their urine. The problem of where to pee marks out for Laura Norén a site where human rights must be arbitrated to establish a standard of dignity for the bodies of workers in New York.
4 Bataille writes:
A relative silence settles: all the stupefied glances are fixed on the filth, beautifully bookd-colored solar prominence, sticking out of the earth and ridiculously shuddering with convulsions of agony. Then the Englishwoman with her charming rear end stretches her long nude body on the pit: the mucous-flesh of this bald false skull, a little soiled with shit at the radiate flower of its summit, is even more upsetting to see when touched by pretty white fingers...contracted by strangulation, and even by death, the beautiful boil of red flesh is set ablaze with stinking brown flames...In reality, when this puerile little vomiting took place, it was not a mere carcass that the mouth of the Englishwoman crushed her most burning, her sweetest kisses, but on the nauseating JESUVE: the bizarre noise of kisses, prolonged on flesh, clattered across the disgusting noise of bowels. (86)
5 Bataille writes of the female gibbon:
Once she is trussed up like a chicken--with her legs folded back against her body--the three men tie her upside down to a stake planted in the middle of the pit. Attached in this way, her bestial howling mouth swallows dirt while, on the other end, her huge screaming pink anal protrusion stares at the sky like a flower (the end of the stake runs between her belly and her bound paws): only the part whose obscenity stupefies emerges above the top level of the pit. (85)
6 About the responses to the second film, Six states, “Similar to part one, people either absolutely loved it or they hated it. Part one was more psychological and people would tell me, ‘We want more shit and gore.’ So I really shoved it to them and went all the way!” (cited in Wampler)
7 Martin soils his bed early in the film and, while viewing the section of First Sequence in which Katsuro feeds Lindsay, he soils himself while gleefully hopping around his booth.
8 This distinction is best explained in Baudrillard’s analysis of science fiction. He writes: “There is no real, there is no imaginary except at a certain distance. What happens when this distance, including that between the real and the imaginary, tends to abolish itself to be absorbed on behalf of the model?” (121) Full Sequence answers this question in a number of ways, many of which are beyond the scope of my analysis here. However, Six’s manipulation of the metatextuality in the film connects to, not only to its placement in The Human Centipede series, but also its placement in the posthumanist chain that I outline below.
9 Barthes writes: "Language has this property of denying, ignoring, dissociating reality: [W]hen written, shit does not have an odor" (Barthes 147).
10 Both films were banned in the UK, although both bans were reversed after cuts. When the first film was banned in Britain, Six appealed to its medical accuracy as part of the effort to get the ban lifted, which it ultimately was. The second film remains banned in Australia. (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Centipede_%28First_Sequence%29>
11 Six describes the scene:
It all started with a very sick joke I always made to friends. We were watching television and there was a child molester or something like that and I said, "They should stick his mouth to the ass of a very fat truck driver. That would be a good punishment for him." Everybody said, "That's horrible." And that was the basic idea for this film, just a joke. (Disgust Discussed: A Q&A With The Director Of This Year's Foulest Horror Flick)
12 Roberts writes,
[C]ritics tend to speak of Saló in hyperbolic terms, as when John Powers called it a ‘‘cinematic ground zero, the cruelest, most obscene, and most intellectually toxic work ever made by a major director.’’ If indeed with Saló Pasolini did reach a limit, instead of stimulating analysis, the hyperbolic judgments of outraged humanists have kept the film hedged in by taboos both juridical and aesthetic, suspended in a critical quarantine[.] (30)
13 Of the coprophagy in Saló, Roberts writes:
Audience-member and actor alike convulse in disgust, even though the film can only show an image without taste or smell, and the actors themselves were eating Swiss chocolate. Speaking of this as a ‘‘strange sensation, resting on sheer imagination,’’ Kant likens such loathsome content to the artist force-feeding the audience a disgusting object that the gustatory senses inherently reject: ‘‘the object is represented as if it were imposing the enjoyment which we are nevertheless forcibly resisting.’’ When this happens, ‘‘the artistic representation of the object is no longer distinguished in our sensation itself from the nature of the object itself, and it then becomes impossible for the former to be taken as beautiful.’’ Revolting objects force the interested nature of taste to the surface, thereby breaking the spell of aesthetic autonomy. (40-1)
14 “Bathtub Girl” is a still from a Japanese pornographic film, one that seems to come straight out of Bataille’s writing and collapses the buried gibbon with the beautiful woman that Bataille pairs in his vision. A young woman lies in a bathtub, her face spattered by a fount of foul liquid excrement squirting out of her anus and arcing above her body. Goatse.cx, the first successful domain hack, is a series of photos of a man’s prolapsed anus, spread to impossibly wide dimensions. “2 Girls 1 Cup” is a by-now eponymous trailer for Hungry Bitches, a Brazilian scat-porn film produced in 2007. In the clip, a pair of women engages in several stages of taboo sexuality: they segue from kissing to eating excrement to kissing again as they share the excrement, and then to vomiting the excrement into one another's mouths.
15 As of this writing, a simple Youtube search of "2girls1cup reaction" yielded 33,600 hits. The “2 Girls 1 Cup” reaction videos are also spoofed in “Back to the Woods,” an episode of Family Guy in which Brian tricks Stewie into watching it. (http://familyguy.wikia.com/wiki/2_girls,_1_cup).
16 Kundera defines kitsch as “the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being,” “a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist…the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence” (248). He continues:
The feeling induced by kitsch must be a kind the multitudes can share. Kitsch may not, therefore, depend on an unusual situation; it must derive from the basic images people have engraved in their memories: the ungrateful daughter, the neglected father, children running on the grass, the motherland betrayed, first love.
Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass!
The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!
It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.
The brotherhood of man on earth will be possible only on a base of kitsch. (251)
17 This occurs in Chimamandi Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun, in which a family headed by a Biafran intellectual is displaced by the military and returns to their home to find feces in their bed. In Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss, an intruding militia commandeers the home, treats the protagonist and her colonially indoctrinated grandfather with condescension and contempt, forces the family to feed and house them, and then leaves a stinking mess in the toilet before they depart. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna also contains an instance of excrement in the bed of a displaced radical intellectual. This is not to say that those who must endure being covered in or in close proximity to their own shit or the shit of others are rendered completely powerless. Bodily filth constitutes a weapon of resistance in the film Hunger, which dramatizes how IRA POWs use their own filthy bodies as a battleground to loudly declare their refusal to be considered criminals. In addition to refusing to wash themselves or to cut their hair and beards, they save food to create dams to funnel urine into the hallways outside their cells. More critically, they bedaub their cells with their own shit, creating beautiful murals of thickly-layered whorls that must be hosed off the walls. Slumdog Millionaire's protagonist Jamal is locked in a latrine as his Bollywood idol Amitabh Bachchan lands a plane on a nearby airstrip to greet adoring fans. Desiring an autograph, Jamal jumps down the latrine hole to land in the sticky pit below, swims to its surface and runs through the crowd, every inch of him covered in shit. His reek clears a path for him. He leaves smears of excrement on the clothes of the crowd as he pushes his way to the front. The ignominy of the beshitted body here becomes an asset. He gets his autograph--his most prized possession.
18 Roberts writes:
When asked what the scatological themes ‘‘represent in the film, metaphorically speaking,’’ Pasolini responded, ‘‘Mainly this: that the producers, the manufacturers, force the consumer to eat excrement. All these industrial foods are worthless refuse.” Pasolini here casts coprophagy as an allegorical comment not only on the culture industry but also on the industrialization of agriculture, with the shit serving as a symbol of the terrible food to which people were becoming habituated. (40)
19 When he neglects to read the Terms and Conditions to which he agreed after downloading an iTunes update, Kyle is kidnapped and forced to participate in an experiment in which he is the middle segment of the HumancentiPad: a human centipede with an iPhone stitched to its forehead and an iPad stitched to its posterior segment. (http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-humancentipad)
20 We answer the question Baudrillard asks of what writer could imagined the East German factories-simulacra which we are all involved, in as we engage in endless unproductive productivity and “our activity is consumed in a game of orders, of competition, of writing, of bookkeeping, between one factory and another, inside a vast network” (126). This “fictional” space is not a metaphor for what we do; Six’s movies and our activity with and around them participate in and exaggerate its logic.
21 As he constructed his centipede, Six consulted with a physician who verified that humans can live on shit if infection is prevented and if supported by intravenous nutrition. (Disgust Discussed). This observation is supported by Ralph Lewin, who points out that excrement has a high concentration of protein. He notes the record of an artist in Brussels who subsists upon it for 23 days as well as a biblical passage in Isaiah in which men on a wall eat excrement (598).
22 Bataille writes, “But these unheard-of events had set off orgasms, each more suffocating and spasmodic than its predecessor, in the circle of unfortunate observers; all throats were choked by raucous sighs, by impossible cries, and, from all sides, eyes were moist with the brilliant tears of vertigo” (Bataille 86).
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“Disgust Discussed: A Q&A With The Director Of This Year’s Foulest Horror Flick.” 28 Apr. 2010. Complex: Pop Culture. http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2010/04/disgust-discussed-a-qa-with-the-director-of-this-years-foulest-horror-flick. Retrieved 22 Oct. 2012.
“The Human Centipede 2, Full Sequence.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Centipede_%28Full_Sequence%29
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Bataille, Georges. Visions of Excess : Selected Writings, 1927-1939. Allan. Stoekl, trans. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994.
Ferreri, Marco. et al. Le Grande Bouffe. 1973. Chatsworth, CA: Image Entertainment, 2000.
Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey. "Capitalism Eats Itself: Gluttony and Coprophagia from Hoarders to La Grande Bouffe." 4 Sept. 2012. Film International. <http://filmint.nu/?p=5799> Retrieved 22 Oct. 2012.
Inglis, David. "Dirt and Denigration: The Faecal Imagery and Rhetorics of Abuse." Postcolonial Studies 5.2 (2002): 207–221.
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Laporte, Dominique. History of Shit. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2000.
Lathers, Marie. “Toward an Excremental Posthumanism: Primatology, Women, and Waste.” Society & Animals 14.4 (2006): 417–436.
Leslie Gornstein. “Who Wants Horror Flicks to Be Medically Accurate?” E! Online. 2 May 2010. <http://www.eonline.com/news/178950/who-wants-horror-flicks-to-be-medically-accurate> 15 Dec. 2012.
Lewin, RA. “More on Merde.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44.4 (2001): 594–607.
Parker, Trey, and Matt Stone. “HUMANCENTiPAD.” April 27, 2011. http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-humancentipad
Pasolini, Pier P, et al. Salò, O, Le 120 Giornate Di Sodoma: Salò, the 120 Days of Sodom. 1975. Irvington, NY: Criterion Collection, 2008.
Roberts, Christopher. “The Theatrical Satanism of Self-Awareness Itself.” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 15.1 (2010): 29–43.
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―――. The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence. New York, NY: IFC Films, 2011.
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Wampler, Scott. “Fantastic Fest 2011: Tom Six and Laurence Harvey THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE.” 3 Oct. 2011. <http://collider.com/tom-six-laurence-harvey-human-centipede-2-interview/118452/> Retrieved 22 Oct. 2012.